By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY — Some nights even the best are not on top of their game. When that happens, the great teams find a way to grind out wins, regardless.
That is the position the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team found itself in Friday during the second Annual Perfect 10 Challenge. Facing No. 16 Boise State, BYU and Texas Woman’s University, the Sooners were a far cry from the team that has risen to No. 2 in the nation and they fought injuries and illness.
Despite that, they found a way to post 197.450 points to win the Challenge. It was the fifth consecutive week they have topped 197 points.
“It felt like we kind of had to just push through it,” Oklahoma coach K.J. Kindler said. “Get that victory, get the best scores we could and move forward. It was a rough week.”
No. 16 Boise State took second (195.575), while BYU (194.175) and TWU (191.425) rounded out the rest of the competition.
Even though Oklahoma (14-0, 2-0) wasn’t at its best, they put on a good show for the 2,506 fans who showed up for the event. According to Kindler, the fans’ enthusiasm helped spur them on.
“I thought their was a lot more energy in the arena than last year,” Kindler said. “I thought the crowd was great. I was very pleased with that.”
The Sooners kicked off the meet on the vault. It has been a consistent event for the squad all year. That includes Brie Olson, who for the third straight meet, garnered a score of 9.876.
As a team the Sooners posted a 49.325. It was slightly off the season high they set last week at Iowa State, but it gave them an early lead after the first rotation over Boise State.
The Sooners’ Erica Brewer got what may have been the loudest ovation of the night while performing on the balance beam. The Sophomore from Louisville, Ky. posted a 9.95, which was the highest of the night.
“It was just one of those routines where I just nailed it,” Brewer said. “I don’t notice the crowd too much. I am in my zone and I don’t really hear outside sources.”
OU took a commanding 148.150 to 146.225 lead over the Broncos into the final rotation, which was the floor routine. Taylor Spears, Haley Scaman and Brewer had the top three scores in the event to close the door on the rest of the competition.
Joining Spears and Brewer as individual winners were Olson on bars and Scaman on the vault.
The Sooners will have a better idea of just how good they are Feb. 22 when they host No. 3 and undefeated UCLA at Lloyd Noble Center. They know they will have to perform at a higher level against the Bruins if they want to come away with victory.
“We have those little mistakes that we have to go and correct,” Brewer said. “I feel like we need to zone in on that. If we get that down, we are good to go.”
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